Forgiveness Leads to Restoration
by Gini Crawford, MSW
posted 12/21/2016, revised 5/19/2018
Forgiveness leads to restoration in every kind of relationship. We bought a hundred year old house in Idaho that needed restoration. We knew it needed a lot of repair, but as life is, it needed more than we thought. To restore anything takes work and time. Every relationship we have will need some work and time in the area of forgiveness to make it decent. When you won't at least work on forgiving someone, you are saying to that person you aren't worth my kindness and love. You are only worth my anger and bitterness. And believe me, people feel your anger and bitterness whether you say it or not. If an attitude of forgiveness isn't in a relationship, then that relationship will be one of bitterness sooner or later.
Bitterness never turns out well. You might be wondering what bitterness means? Bitterness is an attitude that tends to grow out of our refusal to let go (forgive) a person's wrongs. Bitterness is also a deep seated ill feeling, or hostility towards someone. We harbor bitter grudges for years, thinking our mental punishment of our husband, mother, friend, boss and so on will help us. Yet, what this unforgiving bitter attitude is really doing is eating away at our lives, stealing our joy, and eroding our peace, while wrecking our relationships. Why do we hang on to bitterness like we do?
Pursue peace...See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled. Hebrews 12:14-15. NASB®
The fundamentals of Christian forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a choice if you are a Christian, so you need to be working on forgiving. As we talked about in the other days of this devotional, if you refuse to forgive someone, it is a sin that will start building negative emotions in you, leading to unnecessary stress, and more sins in your life such as bitterness. (Ephesians 4:31-32) Whether a person wants your forgiveness or deserves forgiveness, forgiving that person will lead to a peace with God, yourself and the person that will amaze you. This is because you are listening to God and He knows what you need for your wellbeing and happiness.
Another important side of forgiveness is asking for it. As sinners we can offend, hurt, insult, discourage, or even much worse, so asking for forgiveness is a must as a Christian. I understand some of the time we don't do mean things intentionally, but still asking for forgiveness is the kind thing to do. I have found the words, I am sorry, coming from a sincere heart, works wonders. How about you? When you ask for forgiveness, whether the person forgives you or not, you are doing God's will so He will bless you. I taught Bible studies with a gal who had a beautiful and sincere way of asking for forgiveness. She would state what she had done wrong, and then humbly ask for forgiveness for that wrong. Forgiveness certainly brings restoration to the forgiven. I love being forgiven. Do you like to be forgiven?
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. Ephesians 4:31-5:2 NASB®
Forgiveness and relationships don't always go together. I need to emphasize that some people who you need to forgive, you still would never want to be in a relationship with them (example - the man who tried to set you on fire). God understands that and doesn't want you to be friends with people that harm you. But we still can forgive a person while not being in a relationship with them. This is because forgiveness is you making the decision to let go of your resentment towards the person. It has nothing to do with the person. Remember the definition of forgiveness in Day 1?
As we end this Daily devotional of forgiveness quickly review the eleven days and then answer these questions: Describe forgiveness. Why can God forgive you? Why should you forgive? How does forgiving bring healing and health? What did you learn about forgiveness that you did not know? Forgiveness restores and unforgivesness leads to what? Has this devotional helped you to be more forgiving?
Joseph's life is forgiveness in action. Read the story of Joseph - Genesis 37-50. Write down your insights about God, Joseph, and forgiving from these chapters.